People often call us looking for help in treating various liquids that have been accidentally deposited on their carpets or area rugs. Unfortunately, often they’ve tried to clean the deposit themselves first (with a spray cleaner or with dish soap), which creates a compounded soiling situation that can result in permanent staining or other complications.
For years we have been recommending over the phone that people treat a liquid deposit on their carpets or area rugs with baking soda (the powder) instead. Here’s why:
Baking soda is very absorbent, so it will draw the liquid up and into itself. If the liquid deposit is small, sometimes after the baking soda has dried, a simple vacuuming will clean the area well enough to last until the next regular carpet cleaning.
Baking soda cuts odours, so in the case of a liquid deposit with an odour (vomit, urine, and faeces), this will help with odour control until you can get us to come and clean the carpet or pick up the area rug.
Baking soda neutralizes acid, so in cases where acid is present in the liquid (pop spills, coffee or tea spills, wine spills, urine, and vomit), baking soda will stop the work of the acid. For example, when nylon carpets encounter acid, they think they’re being re-dyed, so they tend to accept whatever dye might be in the liquid and turn that colour (orange in the case of orange pop, red in the case of red wine, etc.). The use of baking soda on liquid deposits containing acids dramatically reduces the likelihood of permanent staining.
You can’t damage your carpet with baking soda. For example, some of our customers have applied it generously to vomit on a synthetic area rug, covered the area with paper towels, rolled up the rug, and immediately taken it to our cleaning plant. If handled like this, most often, we are able to successfully treat the deposit with little permanent staining.
Of course, there are some conditions under which even baking soda won’t fix the problem. Large liquid deposits might not be successfully handled by baking soda alone. If you own a dog, for example, and it completely releases its bladder into your carpet, most likely the urine has soaked the face fibres and has continued down, penetrating through to the backing of the rug, and possibly even through to the underpad below the carpet. Even baking soda can’t absorb the urine when it’s trapped that deep. Or, the spill might be onto a wool, silk, cotton or rayon/viscose area rug. Being that these are natural fibres, preventing permanent staining from spills is almost impossible, even by using baking soda. We recommend you apply it anyway, because it can’t hurt and it might help. However, for many accidents with liquids that occur on the textiles in your home, we recommend keeping a large box of baking soda handy, and finding out about how it can work its magic for you.